Stage Set for More Legal Fights Over Trump’s Rewrite of Clean Power Plan

Speculation mounted immediately Tuesday after President Trump signed an executive order to rewrite former President Obama’s controversial and legally-challenged Clean Power Plan.

While the order put a halt to the government’s own actions taken when Obama was in the White House, others think the order will also create courtroom battles. Battles that some think could be settled by a legal “roll of the dice.”

The Justice Department asked an appeals court to stop litigation over the rule.

“EPA should be afforded the opportunity to fully review the Clean Power Plan and respond to the President’s direction in a manner that is consistent with the terms of the Executive Order, the Clean Air Act and the agency’s inherent authority to reconsider past decisions,” wrote DOJ attorneys in a filing with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Now the rewrite will be in the hands of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who as Oklahoma Attorney General in 2015 filed suit and challenged the actions of President Obama. Pruitt was on hand Tuesday as the President signed the order at EPA headquarters.

But the matter for now rests in the hands of the Appeals Court and whether it will stop legal challenges. Environmental and public health groups are defending the rule and obviously do not want the matter dismissed.

“It is very unusual if not unprecedented for there to be a case to be litigated this long based on an administrative record this full that goes all the way up to an en banc hearing at an appellate court and then one of the parties says, ‘Well, we don’t want a decision after all,'” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) said in a call with reporters yesterday. “That is something that is extraordinarily unusual, so we would seek a ruling from the D.C. Circuit.”

New York is one of more than a dozen states that intervened in support of the rule.

Natural Resources Defense Council attorney David Doniger said environmental groups are on the same page, vowing to oppose DOJ’s attempt to freeze the litigation.

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